Trying to work from home with young children/ when little ones are off school for the holidays can be a bit of a nightmare- keeping focused and trying to get everything done in a home environment can be challenging and overwhelming.
Fear not- Tots have put together a list of the top 10 tips for working from home when you have kids, designed to ensure you get everything done, and retain your sanity.
1. Make a Plan
It might seem like an obvious thing to do, but making a plan for each day during the holidays can really help you get everybody organised. Create a plan that not only allows you to assign work tasks to different days, but also details daily activities to keep little ones busy.
Letting older kids provide input for the plan can also be very useful- stick it on the fridge and allow them to add activities that they particularly want to do during the holiday. This will help keep badgering to a minimum, and will make sure that they don’t feel like they’re missing out!
Also keep your plan flexible, so you can adapt to weather/cancellations/other commitments, and so that if your kids want you to come and play ‘evil super ninja princesses’ with them, you can do without feeling guilty about not working.
Make a plan for kids…
Photo Credit: Netmums via http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-NgBv_0nLVjo/U4Jmc1EZe2I/AAAAAAAANa0/Hx4ncFqiy7Y/s1600/half+term+holiday+planner1.jpg
…and one for mum (dream plan below!)
Photo credit: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B08xfI5CYAA6tLG.jpg
2. Create Boundaries
When you have come up with a rough plan of when you’d like to get some work done, and when you’re spending time with your children, create boundaries for yourself and your family.
When you’ve allocated time for work in advance, try and stick to this as much as possible to avoid late nights or an overwhelming feeling of trying to cram everything in to half an hour, because you’ve gotten sidetracked elsewhere. Similarly, if you’ve assigned time to spend with your kids then don’t be tempted to return to the laptop even just to ‘quickly’ check your email- quality time with your family is far more precious and important, so cherish the time that is given to you.
Make sure both family time and work time are accommodated for, and make sure everyone else is aware of what boundaries are in place- let your little ones know that when Mummy is at the the computer, then they should play quietly, but when its family time, they will have your undivided attention!
3. Family Teamwork
You can bet that you won’t be the only one having to work at home during the holidays- liaise with other friends/family members that also have kids but need to work during the holidays, so you can all benefit.
If you offer to take someone else’s kids for a while to let them work, ask if they would mind looking after yours for a bit whilst you do too. This way, you can spend some time working in peace and tranquillity, and also avoid feeling guilty about not working when you’re playing with the kids. You could also factor in some time to spend all together, so the focus of the holiday is still on play and not on work.
4. Use Technology Wisely!
In today’s day and age, youngsters are obsessed with technology- this is one of the occasions to absolutely exploit this! You will be amazed at how quiet and engrossed kids can become once you plonk them down with a tablet or computer, or even just with some new films in front of the TV. Don’t be afraid to use technology- it can be educational as well as entertaining, and as long as kids still get to spend some time running around and getting exercise, using technology to entertain them shouldn’t be frowned upon.
To get some ideas for apps that are perfect for toddlers, have a look at one of our other articles HERE.
Photo Credit: http://www.imagineourlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/table03.jpg
5. Independence and Responsibility
Setting kids tasks to focus on, or small chores to complete, can really help keep them busy (and quiet!). Setting little tasks like helping to keep the house tidy, cleaning up any mess they make, or even playing with the dog in the garden for a while can be productive and useful for allowing you some time to focus on your work.
Some little ones will happily engage in new tasks because of the novelty of doing so, or because they are pleased to be given a new level of independence or responsibility- however if not, incentives may prove useful! Allowing them to play some online games (see above)/choose the next activity/have pyjama days etc. can be the tempting reward that can encourage kids to do something productive whilst you get your work stuff done.
6. Build a Craft Area
Kids love to get creative- cover the floor in old magazines and newspapers, then set your child up with paper, crayons, PVA glue, pipe cleaners, pom poms and as many other exciting craft materials as you can find. Ready-to-go craft kits can particularly be a good option!
If your child is still very little, and you would ideally like to keep the room intact, I would advise you set this up within eyesight of where you’re working- nevertheless, having some creative activities for your youngsters to get stuck in to (perhaps literally) can help keep them busy whilst you get some work done.
7. ‘Hire’ Your Child!
Little ones love to mimic mums and dads- which is why toys like plastic kitchens, prams and toy lawnmowers are so popular. Make the most of this by ‘hiring’ your child to join your businesses! Give your child some ‘office’ toys like a play phone, a kid friendly calculator, a toy till etc. and explain you’ve hired them to do a ‘very important grown up job’- not only will they try and mimic how you work (thus providing an extra few minutes of peace) they’ll be really entertained!
8. Workplace Toy Bucket
If you know you may have to bring your child into the office during the week, prepare beforehand by creating a workplace toy bucket.Fill this with some new toys, puzzles and colouring books that your child is ONLY allowed to play with at the office- this will make a visit to the office seem almost like a ‘treat’. As something ‘new’ it’ll help keep kids quiet and occupied, while you do what you need to.
9. Go Outside
If you are fortunate enough to be blessed with a few sunny days during your time working at home, then don’t be afraid to migrate outside- set up a laptop or whatever other equipment you need on a patio table (you could pick up a cheap plastic one if you don’t already have a patio table) and let little ones roam the garden. Tasks like watering the flowers or weeding can be useful to keep them busy, or alternatively toys like trampolines or pop up tents will be sure to entertain.
10. Go To The Library
If you have the ability to do your work elsewhere, then take everything you’ll need to your local library. Your children can explore the kids section, choosing new books, playing with toys, talking to other kids or even getting stuck into some events- lots of libraries run story sessions and other activities during school holidays. Meanwhile, you have somewhere quiet and peaceful to work.
Photo Credit: http://schools.cssd.ab.ca/stmonica/files/2011/09/kids-reading-in-library.jpg
By combining pre-planned fun activities with a variety of productive tasks, you will be able to establish a little more harmony in your household this half term. Making sure kids have the chance to enjoy themselves, but are also open to having some quiet time, is crucial- use our handy tips to help you out!
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